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'Fighting Fat' participant celebrates 50 years & 70 pounds

5:22 PM, Sep 26, 2010   |    comments
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Stephen has lost 70 pounds since changing his lifestyle in January.

On Wednesday, he turned the big 5-0 but Saturday he treated himself to a makeover.

The long hair he's had for 30 years, he cut off.  He also got rid of all his facial hair.

Johnston said, "50 for me is a big event. My mother passed away when she was 50 so I am very sensitive to that date. It's changing my outlook."

As a new version of himself, he wanted to see how long it would take his family and friends to recognize him as he bused tables nearby at Sokolowski's University Inn.

For about 10 minutes, he bused tables and a couple of times his wife and daughters kept turned around looking in the busboys direction only to shake their heads and continue eating, wondering where the guest of honor was.

Daughter Kristi thought it was him, then decided it was only a waiter with a similar look. Stephen's own brother-in-law, who he hadn't seen in months, actually walked past him.

Chris Oravecz said, "When I was getting up to go to the salad bar, I was walking past this waiter and I thought, 'man, that guy kind of looks like my brother-in-law,' but the last time I saw Steve he had a goatee and a little more hair and I really didn't give it a second thought."

Stephen's wife calls the haircut the "icing on the cake." Annette Johnston says together the family has made many lifestyle changes.

"I am really proud of him."

Stephen says the day went off the way he'd hoped.  He says it will be a good story to tell later on.

"You can't beat good family and good friends," Stephen said, with a smile. He is rewarding himself in 10-pound increments.

Up next? 80 pounds and contact lenses as a treat.

In February, he hopes to have lost 100 pounds. He and his family are headed to Hawaii. That's where he wants to look his best and take a surfing lesson.

WKYC-TV

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